Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Atlanta, GA 30333

The Nation’s Prevention Agency

Current Photo of CDC
Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention responds to public health emergencies domestically and throughout the world.

For half a century, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been in the vanguard of our nation’s efforts to combat disease. CDC had its genesis in the World War II agency, Malaria Control in War Areas (MCWA), which was converted to the Communicable Disease Center in 1946. Over the years, CDC has matured to become the nation’s prevention agency, spearheading endeavors to prevent and control disease, injury, and disability and to promote healthful behaviors that profoundly affect people’s health and the quality of their lives.


Critical to the success of these endeavors are CDC’s partnerships with a variety of groups—state and local health departments; other nations; other state, federal, and international agencies; educational institutions; philanthropic foundations; and professional, voluntary, and community-based organizations. We work in concert to do the following:

Strengthen essential public health services. These services comprise a host of activities, among them, monitoring health status to detect problems in the community; diagnosing and detecting health problems; informing and educating people about health issues in their communities and thus empowering them to take action to resolve those issues; and enforcing laws and regulations that protect public health.

Expand our capacity to respond to urgent health threats. By so doing, we improve our ability to predict public health challenges and to respond to them quickly and decisively.

Develop nationwide prevention strategies. Strategies that promote healthful behaviors and prevent chronic and infectious diseases, injuries, and disabilities will help make prevention a way of life for all people.

Promote women’s health. Priorities include preventing deaths due to breast or cervical cancer and preventing HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, tobacco use, violence and violence-related injuries, and heart disease among women. The effort also encompasses promoting reproductive health and the health of women in their later years as well as promoting health in the environment and the workplace.

Invest in the health of our youth. Here, the focus is on the vulnerability of the nation’s youth to adopt unhealthful behaviors that lead to disease, death, and societal problems. Prevention strategies are directed at these public health issues: 1) the use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco; 2) violence, suicide, and other injuries; 3) sexual activities; 4) nutrition; 5) physical activity; 6) pregnancy; and 7) immunization.

CDC’s Organization for Prevention

CDC’s network of centers, institutes, and offices underscores the depth and breadth of its mission to promote health and the quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability. CDC’s workforce of more than 5800 people includes scientists, technicians, administrators, and support staff representing 167 occupations. About half of these employees work in Atlanta; the remainder work in a variety of settings throughout the nation and world. A brief glimpse of the CDC’s network follows.

National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Works to prevent premature death and disability from chronic diseases and to promote healthful personal behaviors.

National Center for Environmental Health
Works to prevent and control disease, injury, and disability related to the interactions between people and their environment outside the work place.

National Center for Health Statistics
Provides statistical information that will guide actions and policies to improve the health of the American people.

National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention
Works to prevent and control human immunodeficiency virus infection, other sexually transmitted diseases, and tuberculosis.

National Center for Infectious Diseases
Works to prevent illness, disability, and death caused by infectious diseases in the United States and around the world.

National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
Works to reduce illness, disability, death, and costs associated with injuries outside the work place.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Provides national and world leadership in identifying and preventing work-related illness, injury, and death.

Epidemiology Program Office
Coordinates public health surveillance at CDC and provides domestic and international support through scientific communication, statistical and epidemiologic consultation, and training experts in surveillance and epidemiology.

International Health Program Office
Leads CDC’s collaboration with other nations and international organizations to promote healthful lifestyles and to prevent excess disease, disability, and death.

National Immunization Program
Provides national leadership for the planning, coordination, and conduct of federal, state, and local immunization activities.

Public Health Practice Program Office
Works to strengthen the public health system by building an effective work force, developingcommunity leadership, communicating information for public health action, and establishing a science base for public health practice.

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Created March 9, 1996